More than an hour before the networks declared Tuesday night that President Obama had been reelected, Chuck Todd delivered a message on MSNBC that should resonate through the news media.
“The story of this election is the story of demographics,” Todd said. Speaking of the Republicans, he said, “They are getting clobbered with nonwhite voters.”
After Obama delivered his victory speech, Todd was even more blunt, saying, “This was a demographic shellacking that took place tonight.”
On CNN, David Gergen, part of a panel of pundits, was equally unequivocal: “It’s so dangerous to [have one party] represent people leaving the stage and another for people coming onto the stage.”
Advocates for diversity in the news media have been delivering these messages for years. One could substitute “news product” for “party” and see the parallel.
Census figures put the combined population of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans at 37 percent and growing, a far cry from the 12.3 percent counted in the 2012 newsroom census from the American Society of News Editors.
That ASNE survey also said total newsroom employment at daily newspapers declined by 2.4 percent, while the loss in positions held by journalists of color was 5.7 percent. This, while ASNE has a goal of matching by 2025 the percentage of journalists of color with the percentage of blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans in the general populace.
“Obama prevailed among the two minority groups that supported him in large numbers in 2008: Latinos and African Americans,” Emily Schultheis wrote for Politico, reporting on the exit polls.